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Tucked into the curve of the Júcar River, Cuenca is a city of remarkable beauty, known for its Hanging Houses, or Casas Colgadas, that cling daringly to the cliffside. These iconic examples of medieval architecture, featuring wooden balconies that extend out over the river gorge, provoke awe and wonder in first-time visitors. The city's historic quarter, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a delightful maze of narrow streets, Gothic churches, and ancient convents.
For art aficionados, Cuenca houses one of the most significant abstract art collections in the country at the Museo de Arte Abstracto Español. Out in the nearby countryside, you can visit La Ciudad Encantada, an array of peculiarly-shaped rocks that give the impression of being an ancient city turned to stone.
Cuenca´s surrounding landscape is also a treasure in itself. The city is within a three-hour drive from Madrid by car, but it is definitely worth venturing further. The nearby Parque Natural del Alto Tajo and the Serranía de Cuenca are filled with stunning plateaus, gorges and forests, ideal for hiking, canoeing and fishing, making Cuenca a great starting point for an exploration of the Castilla-La Mancha region by car. The distances to travel are considerable but utterly rewarding, offering breathtaking rural scenes and memorable snapshots of Spain at its most serene and unspoiled.